BALTA's Social Economy Research Cluster (SERC) 3 focuses on research regarding the social economy with regards to infrastructure, analysis and evaluation. Research projects began in 2006 and will continue through to 2011. SERC 3 has prioritized research on the following themes:
The broad context and mandate for SERC 3's research program is derived from the BALTA proposal to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to establish a five year research network and program.
SERC 3's annual research program, including a summary of specific projects, is laid out in annual workplans:
No general workplan was produced for 2009-2010, though several individual new projects (see below) were launched during that period.
To date, SERC 3 has implemented (completed or nearing completion) 14 research projects. One other project is in process.
Project Leads: Margie Mendell, Concordia University; Mike Lewis, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
Student Research Assistant: Ralph Rouzier, Université du Québec à Montréal
This project, conducted in 2006, enabled the preparation of an updated summary, in French, of Quebec government policies in support of the social economy sector. Portions of the research reports have been translated into English.
Project Leads: Mike Lewis and Stewart Perry, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
Student Research Assistant: Lena Soots, Simon Fraser University
This project involved a case study of the Nova Scotia co-operative development system with a view to identifying its key elements and factors contributing to its success. A subsequent project C7 has looked at the relevance of these elements and factors for strengthening of the co-operative development systems in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
Project Lead: Jorge Sousa, University of Alberta
Student Research Assistants: Evelyn Hamdon & Bo Qu, University of Alberta
This research developed a preliminary profile of the social economy and social economy organizations in the two Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, using existing data and descriptive information. The report also includes a discussion of trends, patterns and issues found in the context of understanding the size and scope of the social economy in the two provinces.
Project Leads: Mike Lewis, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal; Dan Swinney, Center For Labor and Community Research
These projects explored the merits and limitations of social economy and solidarity economy conceptualizations. Phase 1 explored the two conceptual approaches from a primarily theoretical perspective. Phase w applied both approaches to case studies of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance and RESO (Regroupement pour la Relance Économique et Sociale du Sud-Ouest) in Montreal, Quebec.
Project working paper (Phase 2) - Presented at the First International CIRIEC Conference on the Social Economy, October 2007.
Social enterprises come in many forms
Project Leads: Carol Murray, BC Co-operative Association; Michele Aasgard, Alberta Community and Co-operative Association
Researchers: Paul Cabaj & Michelle Colussi, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
Phase One of this research (Project C2) involved a case study of the Nova Scotia co-operative development system with a view to identifying key elements and factors contributing to its success. This subsequent project C7 has looked at the relevance of these elements and factors for strengthening of the co-operative development systems in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. An action research process has involved key co-op actors in both provinces in assessing the strengths of weaknesses of the co-op development systems in each province and in identifying recommendations for improving the situation.
Project Lead: Jorge Sousa, University of Alberta
Student Research Assistants: Zane Hamm, University of Alberta; Heather Lynch, Simon Fraser University
This project has been conducting an inventory of federal and provincial (in Canada and the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia) legislation, policies and programs that are relevant to community economic development and the social economy. Initial work focused on developing a classification framework to guide the inventory. This has been followed by a systematic surveying and analysis of relevant legislation, policies and programs. A final report will be available soon.
Project Lead: Jenny Kain, City of Edmonton
Student Research Assistants: Emma Sharkey, University of Victoria; Robyn Webb, University of Manitoba
Research Collaborators: Brendan Reimer, Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet); Peter Hall, Simon Fraser University
This project examined the range of ways in which municipal governments are engaging with and supporting the social economy. The research included municipalities in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario (northwestern portion of the province). The research identified a range of models of engagement and opportunities for strengthening the role of municipal governments in supporting the social economy. (This research was a joint initiative with the Saskatchewan/Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario node of the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships.)
Project Lead: Stewart Perry, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
Student Research Assistant: William Kendall, Simon Fraser University
This project involved some preliminary research into the role of credit unions vis a vis the social economy. No project report was produced. Instead it provided input for the development of subsequent BALTA research projects on the role of credit unions (see Projects D5 and D8 under Cross-Cutting Research).
Project Lead: Margie Mendell, Concordia University
Student Research Assistant: Carol Dolbel, Concordia University
Research Collaborator: Jean-Marc Fontan, Université du Québec à Montréal
This project examined what are referred to in Quebec as ‘entreprises d’insertion’. While the term ‘training businesses’ is used in English, this merely describes the activity performed whereas ‘entreprises d’insertion’ draws attention to the objective of the business, which is to achieve social and professional integration through training. People living in poverty can experience a variety of conditions of isolation. Training businesses address this by providing work experience and skills upgrading, leading to improved employment prospects. This project explored the training businesses that exist in Quebec, the enabling environment that has supported their development and significant results achieved.
Project Leads: Mike Lewis, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal; Lynne Siemens, University of Victoria
Student Research Assistant: Matt Broadbent, University of Victoria
This project gathered information about the educational needs of people working in the social economy with a view to providing research input into the development of a BALTA supported initiative to develop a new MA program in community development which is now being offered by the University of Victoria.
Project Leads: Paul Reed, Carleton University; Mike Lewis, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
Student Research Assistant: Kristen Tole, Carleton University
This project draws from recent research of Statistics Canada and explores the concept of social embeddedness as a basis for considering community resilience and the social economy. The project will identify possible implications for how we might apply the concept of embeddedness in monitoring the state of the social economy in communities.
Project Leads: Peter Hall, Simon Fraser University; Peter Elson, Mount Royal University
Student Research Assistants: Jeremy Arbuthnot, Simon Fraser University; Jessica Baas, University of British Columbia; Tom Nelson, Mount Royal University; Samantha Sadler, Mount Royal University
This project surveyed social enterprises in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The survey data was analyzed to develop a profile of the nature, scope and socio-economic contribution of social enterprises in Alberta and British Columbia.
Project Leads: Jorge Sousa, University of Alberta; David LePage, Enterprising Non-Profits
Student Research Assistant: Brendan Decoster, University of Alberta
This project involves analyzing a range of BALTA research projects conducted by SERC 3 and the other SERCs with a view to identifying research findings relevant to social enterprises and to synthesize key findings into a unified analysis. The analysis will be based on an analytic framework developed out of the BC Social Enterprise Summit (BCSES) that identifies elements of a supportive environment for social enterprise.
Project Lead: David LePage, Enterprising Non-Profits
Student Research Assistant: University of British Columbia
This research project involved collecting data and resources on social purchasing procurement, including best practice, and using this to construct an online resource centre for those seeking to enhance social purchasing.
Project Lead: Peter Hall, Simon Fraser University
Student Research Assistant: Robyn Heaslip, Simon Fraser University
One of the first steps in any research process is to undertake a thorough review of the existing literature in a particular area in order to understand the field of knowledge that is being drawn from and built upon. It is also important from an academic point of view to “map” the existing literature in order to situate the contributions of BALTA within the broader social economy field. This is one of three parallel literature reviews conducted in early 2007 for each of the 3 BALTA Social Economy Research Clusters (SERCs).
*Note: Projects C3, C8 and C12 were cancelled.